National Night Out brings community, law enforcement together
DOVER, Del. – Across Delmarva, law enforcement agencies are coming together with their communities for National Night Out. Police say the event is all about getting to know their community on a personal basis. “It’s just to have a few minutes where we’re not on a 911 call. We’re not at some kind of a formal thing. We’re relaxed and just having a conversation, and an exchange of ideas,” said Dover Police Department Chief Thomas Johnson.
At 6 p.m. at Dover High School, community members began filtering in to meet and great multiple public agencies. The Delaware State Police Aviation and Mounted Units made an appearance. DelDOT was also there, with Wally the Work Zone Warrior, a ten-foot tall mascot made entirely from traffic cones. Military members, the Dover Police Department, and Dover Fire Department were all there, too.
Chief Johnson says, aside from the free food, games, and activities, the night is also a window of opportunity to have conversations with community members. He says that way, law enforcement officers can give them a better idea of how they work to keep their communities safe. “It gives us a chance to put our resources and our skill set and our talents on display a little bit. It really creates an opportunity to answer questions, because there’s so many things that the average person may not know about the ‘Why’ of what we do,” said Chief Johnson.
The Chief says by the end of the night, he and other law enforcement officers are hoping to connect with their community on an emotional level as well. He says a lot of times, people don’t realize that they may have more in common than they might think with those who serve. “We talk about some of our shared experiences and shared concerns, the things that we dream of, and the things that we’re scared of, and turn that into a better understanding. Now the tension lowers,” said Chief Johnson.